How to Help a 3 Year Old Deal with the Stress of Moving

Moving Day is just around the corner and Jude is all too aware that we will be moving to a new house. He asks every day if we are going to take the boxes to the new house. We’ve tried to explain that we have to wait a few more days and then we will be moving but I can tell his anxiety is growing just like the piles of boxes in our living room. 

While he doesn’t express out loud that he is concerned about the move it is all too visible.

The first clue he is worried are the frequent night time wakings mostly caused by nightmares. He doesn’t usually have bad dreams but the past month has been riddled with middle of the night screaming and crying. We try to gently calm him and ask him to tell us about his dreams hoping they will provide a clue as to why he’s upset. None of the subject matter of his dreams are consistent and they almost never have anything to do with moving but I assume moving has triggered all sorts of anxiety that are coming out in his dreams.

The second clue he has stress are his sudden outbursts. He’s always been a spirited and strong willed child but he’s more vulnerable than usual. Jude isn’t a child that gets easily upset but I think the combination of poor sleep and anxiety has left his nerves a little exposed and he will often start crying for reasons unknown. I ask him why he’s upset and he doesn’t know or isn’t sure how to express his feelings. Usually a few cuddles and hugs will help resolve the issue.

The third and most concerning clue is the development of thrush in this mouth. Now I know babies develop thrush but I didn’t know it was possible for preschool children to develop it. After a bit of reading online I learned that stress could be a contributing factor to thrush. He claims it doesn’t hurt of bother him but it looks pretty uncomfortable.  I plan to call the doctor about it on Monday to see if they have any solutions to help remedy the thrush because it isn’t going away on it’s own just yet.

How to Deal with Stress
So far we’ve tried a few different techniques that seems to be having varied success. We try to talk a lot about the move to ensure Jude understands that the whole family is moving together and that all of his things will be in the new house. We also took him to visit the new house so he could see his new room and know there is a place for him. Additionally, I’m trying to keep our day-to-day life as normal as possible. Finally, we let him help pack his things so he understands that his toys aren’t being thrown out or given away.

I’m hoping that after the move is over he will start to unwind a bit. In the meantime I would love any additional advice on how to help children cope with anxiety about moving.

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